Circuit Training and Building Muscle

With the wide variety of workout programs that are out there, circuit training is one option that many people find themselves wanting to do.

Circuit training - a set-up where you perform one exercise immediately after another, usually in a full-body-workout type of fashion, is good for those who are short on time and are looking to get in the gym, do their workout, and get out.

Additionally, due to the decrease in rest that you use while performing circuit training, you'll typically burn more calories minute for minute while you're in the gym, provided you are still challenging yourself with the amount of weight lifted.

But, is circuit training going to help build muscle?

Let's look closer.

Requirements For Building Muscle

  • An Overloading Stimulus In order to pack on the pounds, you've got to push - really push, your muscles - past their limits. Say goodbye to that comfort zone.

  • Rest. After you've done the pushing, then you need to back off and let them rest.
    You know those guys you see in the gym day after day, pounding away for what seems like hours, do you ever notice them getting larger? There's a reason for that.

  • Nutrition. The final factor for building muscle is nutrition. You can't build a house of nothing, so what would make you think you could build new muscle tissue? Unless you are giving your body more food than it needs to sustain its current body mass, you aren't building new muscles. I don't care how special you think you are.
Now, looking at this in the context of our circuit training workout, it gets two out of three stars.

Nutrition is really independent from your workout, so as long as you're not being stupid about this, it should be covered (yes, you do NEED to eat before you lift).

Secondly, rest, that's fairly independent as well. In fact, you may even do better on a circuit training workout since if it's full body, you will be taking a day off in between each workout.

Those people who go into the gym and nail chest on Monday, shoulders on Tuesday, and arms on Wednesday, are theoretically working some of the smaller muscle groups for days in a row.

Not a good thing.

So, circuit training may come out on top in terms of the rest factor - but this again depends on how smart you are with setting up your original workout program.

Finally, overloading stimulus. This is where circuit training is going to fail.

To build maximum muscle, you want to lift as heavy as you can. If you know you have about 30 more sets coming with pretty much no rest until the end, how hard are you really going to push yourself?

Not very.

So, in this regard, a different set-up is probably going to produce better results.

While circuit training is quick and can burn the calories, it's not going to develop a whole lot of strength, it will not boost your metabolism over the long-run like hard weight lifting, and it will not reshape your body to the same extent.

So, put your situation up against circuit training and see if it fits the right picture for you and your goals.

If you are looking for fat blasting circuit training program though, I'd highly recommend looking at Craig Ballantyne's Turbulence Training. It's a terrific option for those looking to get a kick on the weight loss process.